Chapter 17, the Truth or Dare session. Highlights include:
Po: Aww, c'mon big guy! I'll give ya all the free food you can eat!
"You do that already," Tai Lung observed wryly, not without a bit of warmth and appreciation.
"Please, Tigress?" Viper wheedled. "I'll buy you that jade and ivory comb you had your eye on down in the marketplace."
"How did you know I—no!"
Monkey held up one hand to Tai Lung and solemnly promised, "I swear, I won't make you do anything stupid."
"You're a terrible liar. You know that, right?"
Mantis couldn't think of anything to ask Po, so instead he turned to Tai Lung, the next in the line—and once it had been settled (unsurprisingly) that the snow leopard would be truthfully answering a question, the insect shocked the panda to the core with what he asked. "How and when did you lose your virginity?"
Viper almost inhaled a dumpling, Crane sprayed the floor with cider, and Po turned so red he swore he could have fried won tons on his cheeks. "What?" Tai Lung cried in disbelief.
"You heard me. A big, tough, manly cat like you must've been quite the hit with the ladies in your day. Bet you had 'em lining up for you whenever you came down from the palace. So tell us all about it." Mantis clasped his pincers expectantly.
"I will not tell you all about it! That is strictly private, and none of your business, and—"
Monkey cupped a hand beside his mouth and half-turned toward the doorway, calling in a squeaky falsetto, "Yoo-hoo, Master Shifu! Tai Lung just isn't cooperating..."
Tigress heard him, of course, and somehow managed to be stunned and upset by his words—even though he was hardly the first to accuse her of being cold. "Well, why would I want to kiss an old man like you? You're almost twice my age, damnit!"
In spite of himself Tai Lung grinned cockily. "But I don't have the body of an old man, now do I?"
Mantis gave up entirely on trying to get up again, only wheezing and gasping between laughs. "I can't breathe, I can't breathe..."
A bit later:
That seemed to faze her, as the striped feline took a step back and cringed visibly, her ears drooping and tail lashing slowly. "But...but...he's so old," she protested again.
"Age just gives me more experience," the snow leopard purred confidently.
"You're a virgin," she pointed out, with more than a hint of vicious vindication.
"That sort of thing comes naturally. And I've always been a quick study." He leered at her.
Snarling in disgust, Tigress took another step back and balled her fists on her hips. "And we were both adopted by Master Shifu. It'd be like...kissing my brother!"
"Except for the ways it's not," Crane noted somewhat clinically from the side. "Since, you know, you're not really related..." He trailed off as both cats and Monkey skewered him with glares, then interlaced his wing feathers and ducked back beneath his hat again. "Uh...I'll be over here now."
And the lead-up to the kiss:
"I promise it won't hurt, or be as arduous as all that," [Tai Lung] said lightly.
"Spare me," [Tigress] spat scathingly. "Just don't expect me to enjoy it."
"No, that'd be too much, wouldn't it?" he growled. "Hussy."
And then they were kissing.
Po playing with his action figures. The fact it is unashamedly based on the scene with Dark Helmet and his dolls in Spaceballs only makes it funnier.
The scene at the apothecary shop. Poor Tai Lung is so lost when it comes to procuring birth control herbs that he resorts to euphemisms...so the goat proprietor thinks he wants recreational drugs, then ancient China's version of Viagra, and then a suppressant for Tai Lung's supposedly constant Raging Stiffie. Finally the scene ends with this gem:
"No, that's not it either! I need..." His voice dropped still further, quite hoarse now. "...baby-preventers."
Furrowing his brow, the apothecary stared at him for a few moments, and then he snickered and shook his head. "Well, why didn't you just say so, my boy? Nothing shameful about that..."
The three-way dumpling fight on Wu Dan...between Shifu, Po, and Tai Lung.
Wet and dripping, the panda did indeed look as he had in Yunxian that day, save for the lack of a lily pad on his head. As the truth sank in, he winced and looked at her apologetically. "Oh yeah...about that day. Sorry I threw apples at ya an' stuff."
"No harm done, cutie. At least you didn't shove any in my mouth like you did Chun." Again she paused, and then a terribly wicked grin appeared on her muzzle. "I can tell you what you should shove in it, though..."
Tai Lung had been certain Po couldn't get any brighter, or any redder. He was wrong. In fact he wouldn't have been surprised if the water around the panda was now boiling and all the fish were swimming away to safer temperatures.
"What?" she said innocently. Then, as if suddenly realizing how her words could be interpreted, she gasped. "Oh my goodness, Dragon Warrior! You're much naughtier than I thought you were...I was talking about your food, silly." And she swatted his shoulder playfully.
Tai Lung’s acupuncture session...since it ends the same way Po's did.
Tai Lung finally stepped forward beside her. Staring down aghast, he managed to point an accusing finger at the group of cubs still gathered around her kneeling figure. "What...where did those come from?"
This time she couldn't hold back her first instinctive response. "You're almost forty years old, and Shifu still hasn't given you that talk yet?"
Amazingly (and amusingly), the great and mighty Tai Lung actually blushed beet red. Oh, I really shouldn't be enjoying myself this much. But he makes it so easy!
Spluttering and grumbling under his breath, he soon recovered well enough to hiss at her, "That's not what I meant, as you bloody well know!"
It was also true that he'd hardly appreciated being relegated to changing duties when one of the youngest, a tiny red panda with eyes and ears even larger than Shifu's, had soiled his linen diaper. To his credit, Tai Lung had done his best, gritting his teeth manfully against the stench and only briefly wavering as if on the verge of passing out before muttering that if he had mastered the Scorpion pose, he could handle this. It had even looked as if he'd properly fastened the cloth in place, albeit with an excess of loops and bulk. But when he proudly held up the fellow for inspection, the diaper had of course fallen right off.
Tigress had only shaken her head ruefully and smiled as she came over to take the cub and, without complaint, proceeded to diaper him properly. Behind her, she'd heard him mutter, "All right...I take back almost everything...owwww..."
"Should I get some ointment for you, or were you going to suffer stoically as usual?"
His voice turned miserable and sullen. "I hate you."
"You're only saying that to make me feel better."
Tai Lung being taught about romance by Viper. Claiming what he had to offer Tigress was "himself" (while posing and showing off in front of a mirror) is bad enough, as is the laugh-out-loud roleplay between himself and Viper as Tigress. But there are also these moments...
"Tai Lung," she replied at last, primly, when she could find her voice, "here's my first piece of advice: when a woman asks you if you think about her naked, you say...no." She paused, frowning. "Except when she wants to know she's attractive, of course. But otherwise, no."
"Well that makes perfect sense, certainly takes a load off my mind," the snow leopard growled sarcastically. "Sounds to me like I'm damned no matter what I say."
You're not too far off there, Viper thought wearily. But all she said aloud was, "Not quite. A lot of what I say may seem contradictory, but I promise that by the end of this—"
"I'll completely understand women?" Tai Lung blurted out hopefully, in wild desperation.
"I don't think that's possible," she said as delicately as she could. "I don't even understand myself sometimes, let alone Tigress."
Viper smiled, a trifle smugly, but she made sure to inject genuine respect and sincerity into her voice. "It's simple, really: whatever you do, whatever you say, make it come from the heart."
For a few moments he stared at her blankly; then he sighed and let his shoulders slump. "I already tried that; it didn't work."
She frowned, a bit puzzled. "Well, what did you say, exactly?"
Biting back a long, anguished groan, the serpent closed her eyes briefly. She didn't know what was worse; that he'd said such a thing to Tigress, or that, when she looked at him again, she could tell from his attentive and slightly quizzical expression that he really didn't understand what he'd said was wrong, and why. "...Let's try a different approach, shall we?" she suggested.
Viper smiled and nodded in turn. "All right, then you know what you have to do."
Tai Lung sighed. "Yes. I have to put her needs before my own...listen to her, really listen to her, to find out what those are...respect her, and show it..." He paused, looking as he if were sucking on something sour, and then finally muttered, "And treat her like the queen who rules my heart. Without making her feel like a helpless damsel."
The tattooed reptile chuckled. "That's right. And be sincere, without condescension; impress her, without showing off; charm her, without laying it on far too thickly; and be there for her, without smothering or overwhelming her."
"Oh is that all?" The spotted feline snorted, crossing his arms over his chest as he settled back on his haunches. "Why don't you ask me to hold back the floodwaters of the Huang He all by myself then, while you're at it?"
Viper laughed, but she didn't dismiss the possibility, either. "Very funny, Tai Lung, but let's get on with this, okay?"
The manner of revelation that Tai Lung can wield the Golden Spear. Nothing like interrupting a great Rousing Speech with the discovery you accidentally picked up a weapon meant for Only the Pure of Heart.
For a long moment, both of them stared at the empty space the Emperor had occupied; then Tai Lung let out a disgusted snort. "He'd better stay away from my woman, if he knows what's good for him. Because if I don't geld him, Tigress will."
In spite of himself, and how the future of his parents weighed on his mind, Po snickered. "Oh, don't worry, buddy, everything'll be fine." He paused, then grinned naughtily. "Unless...well, she does seem to have a thing for older guys."
"Hey, I'm only teasin' ya." He got up to go back and check on the dinner. But as he did, he couldn't resist one last jibe. "Anyway, I can already hear th' wedding bells now, big guy." A beat, then... "Wouldn't she look fabulous in the Empress's coronation gown?"
There was a long silence. Then, very low and filled with a menacing growl, the snow leopard said only two words: